Obituary: Professor Richard Pear

RICHARD PEAR was the first professor of politics at Nottingham University when he was appointed in 1965.

His chair was one of the results of the Robbins expansion of higher education in the early 1960s. Nottingham University had slowly evolved from the University College of 1881, where D.H. Lawrence had studied before the Great War, to full university status in 1948. It was one of the smaller universities and was regarded as a conservative campus despite having had the future Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell, and others like him, on the staff in the 1920s.

In the early 1960s its second transformation got under way and, in keeping with the spirit of the times, the social sciences expanded and stylish modernist buildings were erected. The formidable Fred Dainton took over as vice-chancellor. The future Lord Hollick graduated in Sociology and the TUC's John Monks in Economic History.

However, the balance remained weighted towards its excellent traditional disciplines like adult education, agriculture, pure and applied science, engineering, languages and law. A new medical faculty soaked up the funds at a time when relatively less and less money was available for higher education.

Dick Pear battled in these circumstances at the head of a team of only five, which had to produce quality rather than quantity. He was successful in that graduates with Nottingham Politics degrees climbed the ladder in many fields. Pear was particularly proud to hear that a number of his students (among them Daria Taylor and Kelvin Hopkins) had been elected to Parliament in May 1997.

Although most of the annual intake were normal A level candidates, Pear was sympathetic to "mature" students without formal qualifications. When he retired in 1981 his team had expanded to six and the number of graduates had increased from nine in 1966 to 20 plus by the end of the 1970s. Many other students took courses in Politics.

Pear was born in Manchester in 1916, the son of one of Britain's first professors of psychology, Thomas Hatherley Pear. His mother, Catherine, was active in good causes and had a special interest in working-class housing. Dick Pear attended Hume Grammar School, where he was good academically and as a sportsman. He excelled at rugby and cricket.

As a youngster in Manchester he became politicised. He witnessed poverty in the midst of plenty, the clashes between the Mosley's Blackshirts and anti-Fascist activists. As with many others of his generation he swung to the left seeing the Soviet Union as the bulwark against Fascism.

From Manchester he embarked upon a Politics degree at the London School of Economics in 1935. Here he came under the influence of Harold Laski, Richard Tawney and other democratic socialists. After graduation in 1938 he took up a Darwin research fellowship of the Eugenics Society, followed by a Commonwealth Fund Fellowship at the University of Chicago, in 1939- 41. He served briefly with the British Information Services in New York. His wife, Evelyn, also an LSE graduate, whom he had met at a Peace Camp in Ludlow, Shropshire, in 1936, worked in the codes and cipher department of the British Consul General.

Anxious to get into the fight against the Nazis, he returned to Britain and was sent to Sandhurst. On graduation he was assigned to the Armoured Corps but spent most of his military service in the relative calm of Kenya. He was demobilised with the rank of staff captain.

In 1947 Pear returned to the LSE as Assistant Lecturer in Government, advancing to a full lectureship a short time later. In 1959 he was promoted to Reader. His main area of expertise was American government and politics and he published his American Government: its theory and practice explained for the English reader in 1955. This was well received and a second edition appeared in 1963. He also contributed to other works on American politics.

He loved the United States but it was the America of the New Deal, Studs Terkel, Henry Fonda, Scott Fitzgerald, Adlai Stevenson and The Graduate, not that of the House of Un-American Affairs Committee, Nixon or Reagan. He was a popular lecturer, a handsome figure who took great care over his appearance. He was kind to his students and tried to help where possible. He was more interested in teaching than in research. At Nottingham he ran his department on an informal, gentlemanly basis. Though he welcomed Nottingham's more recent achievements he would not have fitted in too well with the aggressive managerialism prevalent in contemporary higher education.

Pear's How People Vote (1956) was about the British electorate. For some time he was a member of the Labour Party and there was talk of embarking on a parliamentary career. But he was too open-minded and independent to be a party man. Nor was he combative enough for the rough and tumble of politics. In any case, as a strong family man, he came to the conclusion that the life of an MP would not have suited him. Nevertheless, he remained a committed socialist and a dedicated secularist to the end.

Richard Hatherley Pear, political scientist: born Manchester 10 March 1916; Assistant Lecturer in Government, London School of Economics 1945- 47, Lecturer 1947-59, Reader 1959-65; Professor of Politics, Nottingham University 1965-81; married Evelyn Canning (one son, one daughter); died Nottingham 17 February 1998.

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths surrounding the enigmatic singer
Life and Style
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Lettings and Sales Negotiator - OTE £46,000

    £16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Home Care Worker - Reading and Surrounding Areas

    £9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...

    Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

    £15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn